1. Avoiding Campaign Blunders
Research is vital when expanding your brand’s platform in a new country. Recognizing key areas of importance such as language, value systems and sensitive issues is vital for your brand’s image. Research will not only help you to avoid blunders, but can also create the appearance of understanding and of respecting the culture. Furthermore, failure to do in-depth cultural research prior to campaigns can lead to the countless gaffes we’ve witnessed over the years - ranging from common mistranslations, offensive content, ignorance of current issues or even the simplest mistakes, such as forgetting about product specifications changing per region. Remember, you want to go viral for the right reasons.
2. Creating Content That Suits Values and Attitudes
Value systems are deeply embedded into local culture and understanding these can play a vital role in optimizing marketing techniques (ROI, baby!) as well as indicating the effectiveness of your content. Consider - but do not generalise - questions such as, is the society of an individualist or collectivist nature? How liberal are their attitudes towards trending social issues? Could your content come across in an offensive way? These questions are important to contemplate and could help make or break the success of your campaign, and the brand’s image.
In Hong Kong, “saving face” is highly valued, and must be considered when launching campaigns. For example, despite Hong Kong legalizing equal love, LGBT campaigns must be handled with care because the subject is still notoriously difficult to navigate successfully.
3. Winning Over Hearts and Minds
To further your brand's image and enhance its reputation it will always pay to integrate your business into Hong Kong’s culture. By considering the important aspects of a culture, we see foreign companies increasing their brand’s popularity abroad in various ways. For example, PR agencies of all major football teams and brands celebrate religious or cultural holidays (Ramadan, Chinese New Year, etc) in their respective countries where they hope to broaden their appeal. Acknowledging these special dates and paying respect as a foreign brand helps provide positive, genuine content that will enhance your reputation and feel like an uncommercial attempt at building a relationship with the consumer.
In Hong Kong, where the cohesive family unit is highly valued, campaigns that draw on that fact resonate strongly.
Towngas understood this and integrated family values well in this campaign: http://www.marketing-interactive.com/towngas-family-heart-new-branding-initiative/
Cathay Pacific: Travelling well is about the sense of shared adventure that comes with a great family vacation
4. Securing Market Share
Appealing to the local culture is crucial for global companies that are entering Hong Kong, because they will be battling for market share with well established brands that already know the customs, history and values of this society. Forbes reported on a survey that highlights the needs for ‘deep globality’ for foreign brands - this is when the brand must do all within its ability to integrate itself into the receiving country and show appreciation for the culture to further commercial success and reputation. This derives from the negative correlation many consumers see between foreign companies and ‘globalisation’, both of which is perceived to contribute to the erosion of local culture. Foreign companies can prevent this unfavourable image by conveying their in-depth cultural knowledge through marketing and PR content - this illustrates the understanding of a country’s values and adds emphasis on the assimilation of the brand into the country.
In our experience, a deep understanding of local drinking culture has been vital to successfully integrate global liquor brands into the Hong Kong market.
5. Maximising Your Knowledge
To ensure your brand is deeply embedded into the region's culture and is fully aware of the traditions and value systems of that country, many companies hire or collaborate with a Hong Kong based public relations or marketing agencies. This is vital to portray your campaigns as authentic and in touch with the community. Hong Kong agencies ensure your message is ‘localized’ and that it contains all the indirect and understated aspects of the cities culture that customers will appreciate.
At Stir PR, we have a strong history of delivering brands content to consumers through events, digital marketing and PR. Working with both Chinese and English media we are able to create content that fits your brand's ethos whilst being localized to attract consumers attention.